Dr Edward Allen, 1929–2016

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59 , No. 1 , January February Pages 11 Obituaries


Dr Edward Allen, known to all as Ted, passed away on 21 June 2016 at the age of 86. Dr Allen graduated in medicine from the University of Cape Town in 1953 and within 5 years decided to immigrate to Canada with his very young family, arriving in Toronto in 1958, where he worked for the Ontario Ministry of Health in TB control. In 1965 Dr Allen moved to Victoria and entered private practice as an internist and respirologist. His final career move was to take on the role of provincial director of TB control for the BC Ministry of Health, which is where he worked until his retirement in 1994.

Dr Allen was a clinical professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and was granted the honor of emeritus status in 1998, having joined the Department of Medicine at UBC in 1980. He published many papers on tuberculosis, frequently coauthored with his lifelong colleague and friend, Dr Stefan Grzybowski. Their last paper was written in 1999 and appeared in the CMAJ, titled “Tuberculosis 2: History of the disease in Canada.” Dr Grzybowski died prior to its publication.

Dr Allen was involved in many organizations, including the Osler Society and the Canadian Thoracic Society, and served on the board of the BC Lung Association. He was honored with the George Elliot Award for lifetime contribution to public health in British Columbia.

I first formally met Ted in 1982 when he interviewed me for a position at what is now the BC Centre for Disease Control. It was my first introduction to his eloquent loquaciousness. I did not say a word for the first 20 minutes of our discussion. I eventually accepted the position and worked with Ted from 1982 until his retirement in 1994.

Part of our daily ritual at the Willow Chest Centre was to convene for coffee every morning at precisely 10 a.m. Regular attendees included not only the physicians from TB control but many others who worked in the building and several who did not. Among the many regular attendees were Drs John Hartley-Smith, Stefan Grzybowski, John Angus-Smith, Lee Kornder, John Blatherwick, Paul Champion, Sverre Vedal, Judy Isaac-Renton, Hugh Jones, and Bill Black to name but a few of the visiting luminaries. On these occasions Ted held court, willing to converse effusively on any and every topic. He was a firm believer in collegiality and loved the company of his fellow physicians. He would be appalled at what has become of that aspect of medical life.

Sadly, Dr Allen was disabled in his later years, but this did not quench his productivity. He spent the last 18 years of his life researching and writing his family history in three illustrated books.

All who knew Ted will fondly remember his jocular manner, his welcoming nature, and his wry, ever-present smile. He is survived by Ursula, his wife of 61 years; his sons, George and Mark; and his daughters, Tamsin and Toni.

Requiescat in pace.
—Kevin Elwood, MD
Vancouver

Kevin Elwood, MD. Dr Edward Allen, 1929–2016. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 1, January, February, , Page(s) 11 - Obituaries.



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